Republicans block procedural vote on bipartisan infrastructure bill

US Senate Republicans have blocked a vote to advance a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, as negotiators are expected to continue their talks in hopes of reaching a deal in the next few days.

The vote on Wednesday failed 49-51 in the upper chamber, with all Republicans voting against the measure, reports Xinhua news agency.

Sixty votes were needed to advance it.

Before the procedural vote, lead Republican negotiator Senator Rob Portman already said Republicans would oppose the vote, calling for more time to negotiate the bill and finalise the details.

The procedural vote came a few weeks after President Joe Biden announced last month the he reached a deal with a bipartisan group of senators on a roughly $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan.

“We’ve waited a month – it’s time to move forward,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who noted that the vote did not represent a “fish or cut bait moment” and is not an “attempt to jam anyone”.

Meanwhile, Schumer and other Democratic leaders also seek to advance a bill with a top-line spending level of $3.5 trillion to enact most of Biden’s economic agenda without Republican support.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell lashed out at Democrats’ plans on Wednesday.

“President Biden campaigned on a pledge not to raise income taxes on the vast majority of Americans. But Democrats’ reckless tax and spending spree would bring crushing new burdens down on homeowners and small businesses, like the many family farms with deep roots in Kentucky,” said the Kentucky Republican.

Biden, however, repeatedly argued that the 2017 tax cut was “a huge windfall” for corporate America and those at the very top, urging corporate America and the wealthiest 1 per cent of Americans to pay their fair share.